Thursday, July 22, 2010

“Thank you , brother.”

“NSG-010 this is Team1 we have two suspects, one on the top left roof covered by NSG990 and another on the balcony opposite the entrance, he has some sort of device in his hands, exact confirmation latitude 93.74 and longi..”…the trained heavily built sniper quivered in his continuation. It had been a long day, with buildings being blown up, riots and chaos. And the final call had come on the State building, Intel reported. The dust had settled down, the bullet ridden gravel filled the air and the rotting smell of blood loomed over the smoke filled afternoon. The sniper shifted his weight and suddenly gave a start. He was looking through his snipe vision, zooming in on his target. And something about the suspect caught his attention. The black and green bandana on his forehead. The one which he remembered very well. It wasn’t a symbol of any religious group, neither was it a signal for any destruction. It was just a sign of determination, a strong will, when you are about to do something big, something which could change things the way they are. Something for the good of mankind. He knew only person who had that bandana, a person he knew very well.

“team1, sniper 04, this is NSG010, you are authorized to engage, no exceptions, clean all suspects, the state building is rigged with explosives from the inside, they are waiting with the trigger for the auspicious moment, I repeat, you are authorized to engage!!”

Sniper 04 struggled to catch his breath. The person he was looking through his lens was the same person he had shared everything with in his childhood. The biggest disappointments, the happiest times, the tears, the laughter. He looked at the calm, serene face covered partly with the bandana and his hands holding up a small device as if it was an offering to God. The sniper rifle was shaking in 04 ‘ s hand. The cross air pointed to the man ‘s upper chest. Suddenly the world went quiet. There were no barking orders from the radio, no sound of the NSG choppers, no gun shots, no cries. Nothing. Everything stood still. He placed his hand around the trigger. He remembered the rose sherbet and mutton biryani during eid, he remembered asking his friend’s father for his ‘eidi’, he remembered taking him home for ganpati celebrations, lighting fire crackers with him. He remembered his pass during the final of the football tournament, which he had successfully netted in. He remembered slapping him after he tried his first cigarette. And the same person, the same friend, the same old comrade stood in line with his sniper rifle.
“what have you done, Komail, what have you done..”

The plan had worked perfectly till now, Komail thought as he adjusted his bandana. Till now. The voice he heard on the system was one he could not forget. The tapping had worked, all NSG radio communications were audible to him. He wished they were not. For he knew who sniper 04 was, along with his location. And he knew that his best friend was on the other side ready to put a 5.45 inch bullet in his chest. He had to make a decision. Komail could press the device, walk out unscathed. But he was also aware of the time lag, even after direct orders from NSG, sniper 04 had not fired his rifle. More NSG commandos appeared at the base of the building, evacuating people. Innocent people. People with families and small children. Tears began to form at the corner of his eyes. Not because he was going to kill a hundred other people, but even when about to do so, his friend would not fire. He looked up at latitude 93.74 and longitude 65.39 on his laptop. And found the location. He was right in front of him. “why wouldn’t you shoot me…it would make this easier…!” The detonator trembled in his hands, his conscience torturing him from within. Why would he have to make this decision, he asked God, why wouldn’t fate decide this for him. His hands were clammy with sweat, as he closed his eyes again. It was time. “I am sorry, brother.”

The base of the building erupted into a frenzy of smoke and gravel, as shouts and cries of horror filled the air. Windows shattered, foundations crumbled as the peoples’ muffled cries for help were drowned. The structure collapsed slowly, as sirens blared. Among everything, the chaos, one man smiled. The man with the green and black bandana. Komail. He smiled again as he looked down at his hand cupping his chest, warm blood oozing out of it. He slumped onto the floor. The smile remained as life drained out of him. “Thank you , brother.”

Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Answer

I look at the sky, with a genuine smile,
A God i try to find,
Grateful i am, I wish to thank,
But the sun downs me blind.

Just when you feel that things have changed,
And things have become better,
A certain action, a small event,
And everything returns to my gutter.

The mind is like a gutter i feel,
It takes in good and bad,
But inside itself it mixes the two,
And overflows the bad i had.

It would take years for me to clean my mind,
As the drainage never would stop,
And one small 26/7 in the mind,
It would promptly return to the top.

So i wish for answers from God himself,
Why cant i maintain my state of mind?
Small things distort my calmness,
And happiness is hard to find.

As i walked these thoughts, across the street
A child I found, below a street lamp,
Tattered, used books lay around him,
It was his studying camp.

He rocked a rhythm as he recited a poem,
A test he had the day after tomorrow,
Twinkled eyes, toothless grin,
I walked to hide my sorrow.

In a bus I sat and over heard,
A conversation between women,
One of them sobbed uncontrollably,
For her son had done the unforgiven.

He was a good chap, she said
For among the best he was, she wept,
But the fear of failure and performance got too much,
And he took the drastic step.

Returning home, I opened the newspaper,
Another 'chamcha' of a politician, he was
Enthralled and enraged and ignited by his speeches, he was
And thrown in the lock up, he was

On television too, a news was broadcast,
Of a soldier captive behind enemy line,
Being tortured and grilled for information,
His body rotting in blood and slime.

He keeps calm and shut for us,
For us, the ignorant fools,
And if he does get released, he would say
That he was just following the rules.

After these incidents,
I look up at the sky again,
The shining sun had disappeared in dark clouds,
It seems that it would rain again.

God did answer my questions, i feel
As i complained about my emotional trouble,
He showed me people with more difficult times,
And who had more to grumble.

But they didn't grumble at all, He showed me
They smiled their toothless grins,
They sobbed but fought their sorrows,
they were ignorant, but remained fearless,
They were betrayed, but upheld their valour and tolerance.

I looked up and prayed to God, to destiny, to nature, to life
I prayed for the ones i cared for,
But i prayed more for the ones in need,
Cos they really needed more.

And I didn't pray for myself at all,
Like I started off to try,
As one stops thinking about himself, he realises
The 'we' sounds better than 'I'.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Trip Diaries: Excerpts

Rhythmic , soft thuds, two at a time. I knew of maddys descent before I looked up. He did so, adjusting his camera to check its working status. Chirag followed suit in almost similar fashion as I drained the sand out of my slippers. We followed a path that led us behind our rented bunglow, a path laden with white sand and shells, with small bushes and coconut trees along the sidelines, the bushes opening up to show another unused rocky path. Maddy was immediately at work, capturing each picture with utmost promptness. I strayed away from the two, engulfing the aura of the surroundings slowly. The breeze blew steadily, our t-shirts held on tightly to our bodies as the soft salty air blew sand across our faces. We didn’t flinch, enjoying every bit of it. The coconut trees swayed playfully over us as we followed the rocky path, draining the sand from our feet occasionally. As we went past the bushes, the wind got saltier and stronger. I took a moment to look around. It was around 4 p.m. with the sun beginning its descent into the sea. The sand was warm but the breeze was cool and strong and superseded the heat of the sun. a long unused fisherman’s boat lay there shredded across a couple of huge rocks. The sand was white and soft. There was no one else on the beach. The sea looked peaceful and infinite as I tried to follow my eyes to the horizon. I didn’t feel like moving or making a noise or doing anything for that matter. I just stood there surrendering myself to the deafening silence of the sea perturbed occasionally by the sound of the birds. It may have been nothing less than the carribeans. As I resumed my slow walk towards the sea, I raised my hands over my shoulders. It felt divine. It was one of those moments which on observing encourage a head up eyes down expression, with a still face and calm smiling eyes.
The games had begun. After a quick session of beach football, rohit tried to match the strength of the waves with his own strokes. Amey tried to combat the waves aschirag kept getting knocked left right and center. Hansil, maddy and I were at our nonsensical best making stupid sounds and tripping over the waves. Rohan was the fastest among us and sachin complained of being allergic to sea water to which we were very ‘obliging’. Anup went hysterical. Bret had not joined us by that time and sinan conveniently missed out as he was busy digesting his excretion in his dreams in the room. Volleyball, sakhli, beachball and countless chutyagiri followed. It was a pleasurable sight- a mixture of people whom I knew extremely well, who formed an important part of my life and people I was getting to know. That’s the best part about a trip. A small photo session later, exhaustion took over us as we returned to the shore just at the point where the water ceased. We lay down on our backs and elbows, the slow waves washing the deposited sand on our legs, as we watched the sun set over the horizon.

We returned to our rooms but couldn’t have less of the place and were back at the beach after dinner. There wasn’t a single light bulb on the beach. But there was a full moon. An hour of kabaddi and everyone was down with aching backs and legs. As we lay down gazing up at the moon lit sky trying to count the stars, I thought about some things and had my own little introspection. All I craved for was a book and a pen. “this is what life should be like”, I thought childishly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Letter

I wouldn’t want to start this letter with a ‘dear sir/madam’ for I dont find the title worth for you. It must have been some great hurry that right after the incident you didn’t stop even for a few minutes to see if everything was fine. Probably, the optimistic side of me would want to believe that you are a doctor or someone of that league acting on an emergency or to ease someone ‘s pain. Maybe hurrying to help a woman in labour. Maybe that’s why you didn’t stop after hearing the surprised yelp. You knew I was hit. There’s no doubt about that as I fell ahead rolling beside your car. Your reflexes were good, because soon after I heard the screeching of the brakes, I heard the engine rev up and the car speed down the road before I could blink twice after opening my eyes. I know you must have stopped for a split second, swallowing a lump of guilt that you have done something horrible and could not muster enough courage to face the consequences of what you had done. Even though I have not seen you, I know, if you are a normal human being, you would have felt that horrible feeling at the pit of your stomach and I hope it gives you those goose bumps forever which you have so righteously earned. The worst part would be to not know whether I lived or died and you will have to live with that uncertainty. I guess that may be your punishment and my consolation.
So the next time you speed down the wrong side of the road trying to hit the speedometer ,think again.
It won’t be another twenty one year old guy. Maybe it would be a six year old boy on his new bicycle. Or a small girl walking her dog. Or an old man buying medicines. Or a pregnant woman trying to cross the road. Imagine the guilt involving a hit and run with them. I don’t know what I would do if I come to know who you are ,eventually. But I do pray that nothing like this happens to anyone else. I can’t think of a way to end this letter but I do hope, if you are reading, you realize that I wrote this letter in the most polite way possible.
P.S: if you still don’t get what I want to convey then here is a sum up: BALLS TO YOU BASTARD. MAY YOU ROT IN HELL.